Becoming a CASA volunteer is an investment of time, energy and heart. But as many volunteers have said of the children they worked with: "It wasn't about what I gave them, it was what they showed me."
LAURA BUSH ON BEING A CASA VOLUNTEER
Rules and protocols vary from state to state. The following generalizations apply throughout the CASA network.
What Is A CASA?
All children need a home with loving people to care for them. Each year in Texas, thousands of children are abused, neglected or abandoned. Sometimes these children must be removed from their homes and placed under the protection of the court.
A judge has approximately 10 minutes to decide the fate of these victimized children. Should they remain in foster care? Be reunited with parents? Or, be adopted?
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are trained volunteers involved in helping the courts deal with overwhelmingly difficult (and costly) child abuse cases in Texas, which are at an all-time-high.
What Does A CASA Volunteer Do?
Lost in an overburdened child welfare system that cannot pay close attention to each child's needs, many children become victims a second time. That's where CASA comes in.
Appointed by District Judges, CASAs are trained volunteers who befriend the child and speak on his or her behalf in court. Often, the CASA is the first kind and trustworthy adult an abused child encounters. CASAs are committed to the child. They care for the child. They make a difference in the life of that one child.
The CASA is responsible to find out as much as possible about the child's circumstances. CASAs search for information on behalf of the child. They review records, interview parents, talk to teachers, neighbors, baby-sitters, and most importantly, the child.
CASAs appear in court and submit a written report with a recommendation about what is best for the child's future based on the facts they've come to know about the child's situation. Judges take these recommendations very seriously.
Become A CASA Volunteer!
To become a CASA volunteer, you must be at least 21 years of age and a responsible adult who can offer stability to a child in a crisis situation. You must be willing to complete a 30 hour volunteer training class before being assigned a case. Time commitments vary with each child, but the average CASA spends 10 to 15 hours a month working with the child. It is hard work, but it is also very rewarding. Are you ready to make a difference in a child's life? To learn more about CASA or to schedule a one-on-one informational meeting with our Advocate Supervisor about becoming a volunteer, please call 940-665-2244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.